The Hippie Trail Stalker
Charles Sobhraj (1944 – ), who became infamous as “The Hippie Trail Killer”, was a Frenchman of Vietnamese and Indian origins. In his childhood, he frequently moved back and forth between France and Indochina. At an early age, he became a delinquent and took to petty crimes. Sobhraj did his first prison stint at age eighteen, for burglary. A manipulative psychopath, he met and endeared himself to a rich prison volunteer, who introduced him to high society after his release. Sobhraj used that access to the rich to enrich himself in turn. He scammed his new upper class friends and acquaintances, and scouted their homes to burglarize them.
Legal troubles eventually forced Sobhraj to flee France with his girlfriend in 1970 to avoid arrest. The couple travelled through Eastern Europe with fake documents, robbed tourists along the way, and eventually ended up in India. In India, Sobhraj ran a car theft and smuggling ring until 1973, when he was arrested for an attempted robbery of a jewelry store. He managed to escape, however, and fled to Afghanistan. There, Sobhraj and his girlfriend began to prey on tourists along the “Hippie Trail”. An overland route between Europe and South Asia, the Hippie Trail was popular with Hippies and Beatniks between the 1950s and 1970s. Sobhraj became the scariest stalker on that route.